In DCF cases with a 51A and 51B investigation there are some time periods that are needing to be looked at. For the 51A’s, if they are “Screened Out” it means that there is no further investigation and some of the time DCF decides that it is not warranted of DCF involvement if the allegations do not rise to the level of a 51A; or sometimes if the credibility of a non-mandated reporter, such as a neighbor or ex-spouse.
However, if the 51A report is “Screened In” DCF then decides what their initial response would be. The severity of the situation will determine whether if it is an emergency or a non-emergency and DCF will make a determination regarding the allegation of the level of risk that it is involved. DCF will then determine whether or not the child or children can safely remain at the home; or whether the family would benefit from continued DCF involvement, and if DCF involvement continues, what sort of action plan or assessment would be needed to be placed.
In addition, there are cases called “CRA”; which was previously called a “CHINS” case and is referred to the Juvenile Court. Sometimes cases can be referred to Probate Court. They are voluntary services that a parent can ask for as well.
What ends up happening if it is a determination that it should be an emergency investigation, it is supposed to start very quickly and is supposed to be completed within (5) business days. If it is a non-emergency, it is supposed to begin within (2) business days and completed within (15) business days.
There is an initial assessment as well and a comprehensive assessment that are a bit more detailed, but these are some of the timelines for a 51A investigation.